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Police Squad! The Complete Series

4.7 out of 5 stars 271 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The satirical comedy "Police Squad" pits an ace detective and his captain (Leslie Nielsen & Alan North) against the criminal elements that befoul a big city. From the creators of "Airplane!".


In addition to spawning the popular Naked Gun movie franchise, Police Squad! had a lasting impact on TV comedy, and it's still a guilty pleasure. Hot from the success of Airplane! two years earlier, the ZAZ team (brothers David and Jerry Zucker and writing partner Jim Abrahams) decided to spoof TV cop shows, using the late '50s Lee Marvin series M Squad and the popular series format of Quinn Martin Productions (e.g., The Streets of San Francisco) as their template for supremely silly, gag-laden satire. With Airplane! star Leslie Nielsen as straight-faced detective Frank Drebin and Alan North as Drebin's befuddled boss, Capt. Ed Hocken, this half-hour series quickly established an irresistible combination of nonstop sight gags, non sequiturs, and repeated routines ("Cigarette?" "Yes, it is") that dared viewers to pay close attention or miss the laughs if they didn't. Ironically, this very quality--you had to actually watch the show instead of casually listening for punchlines--is what ultimately sealed the series' fate. After only six poorly rated episodes, Police Squad! was canceled without fanfare, and six years passed before Drebin returned as the bumbling hero of The Naked Gun.

Will all six episodes on one DVD, ZAZ fans can get reacquainted with a series that was arguably ahead of its time. In addition to the rib-tickling disparity between onscreen episode titles and narrated titles, and "special guest stars" (including William Shatner, Robert Goulet, Lorne Greene, and others) who get killed in the opening credits, loyal viewers could count on a weekly dose of hilarity from Nielsen, North, and their supporting players. Character actor William Duell appeared each week as shoeshine boy "Johnny the Snitch," capable of answering literally any question if you repeatedly greased his palm (a gag that led to info-seeking cameo appearances by Dick Clark, Dr. Joyce Brothers, baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, and others). And while original Mission: Impossible costar Peter Lupus poked fun at himself as the dim-witted Det. Norberg (later played by O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun movies), Ed Williams--an actual high school science teacher--is hilarious as "Mr. Wizard"-like lab technician Ted Olson, who dispenses dubious science lessons to unsuspecting children. The fast-paced barrage of humor guaranteed that every episode would deliver as many hits as misses, and while some of the jokes have lost their punch, Police Squad! still delivers the belly-laughs... and always will, as long as humans have an appetite for shameless stupidity. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVD
Two episode commentaries by the Zucker brothers, Jim Abrahams, and producer Robert K. Weiss are good for a laugh, as the ZAZ team laughs at their own material and recalls the rigors of a 5-day shooting schedule, battles with network censors (also outlined in the revealing "Production Memo Highlights" feature), and the never-shown "celebrity guest death" of John Belushi, who actually died shortly after the gag was filmed. Comedian and writer Robert Wuhl's commentary is more autobiographical and somewhat perfunctory (he barely remembers the episode he wrote), but contains a few nuts-and-bolts details about the show's production. The 10-minute Leslie Nielsen interview shows the gracefully aging star in fine form as he recalls his affinity for the ZAZ brand of humor; the brief gag reel offers about a dozen on-set bloopers (several from crude workprint sources); "Behind the Freeze Frames" is an extended outtake to illustrate the elaborately faked "freeze frame" gag that ended each episode; and "Celebrity Death Shots" is a list of guest-star death gags proposed (and mostly used) for the series. Also included are casting tests for Alan North and Ed Williams, and an animated producers' photo gallery of Police Squad! sets, props, and scenery. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • All 6 episodes from the 1982 season
  • Brand-new interview with Leslie Nielsen
  • Behind the Freeze Frames Featurette
  • Gag reel
  • Casting Test – Alan North and Ed Williams
  • Producers' Photo Gallery of Scenery, Sets & Props
  • List Of Celebrity Death Shots
  • Production Memo Highlights

Product Details

  • Actors: Leslie Nielsen, Alan North, Rex Hamilton, Ed Williams, William Duell
  • Writers: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 149 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H7JCFK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,635 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Police Squad! The Complete Series" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Police Squad! is one of those shows that just didn't get the chance it deserved. The show skewered, among other targets, the Quinn Martin crime shows of the 1960's and 70's (The Fugitive, Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, etc.). Leslie Nielsen, who had guest starred on many of the shows Police Squad spoofed, was hilariously perfect. With his deadpan delivery, it was a perfect follow-up to the career altering path Nielsen had forged with his performance in Airplane.

But as fitfully funny and clever as it was, Police Squad!, for some reason, couldn't pull in the audiences that had flocked to see Zucker/Zucker/Abrahams' Airplane just two years earlier. The series suffered from low ratings from the start and never found its audience. One of the running gags on the show was the introduction of a "special guest star" who was immediately killed off in the some horrible fashion right after the introduction. Lorne Green, William Shatner, Georg Stanford Brown and Florence Henderson were among the guest stars who were shot, stabbed, machine-gunned and poisoned. Unfotunately, the guest star for the sixth episode was John Belushi who died right before the episode was to air. ABC had to pull the show until a new introduction could be filmed. Right after that, the series was cancelled after just six episodes, cutting short the run of one of the funniest series of all time.

Fortunately, the team of Zucker/Zucker/Abrahams resurrected the Police Squad! series in the form of the Naked Gun series in the late 1980's. The premise, and Leslie Nielsen, finally got the exposure it deserved and the result was three hilarious films that did very well at the box office. However, when the three films were released on DVD, there was no corresponding release of the original series on DVD.

Now, finally, the original series is coming to DVD on November the 7th. Hopefully many will buy the DVD and realize what a crime it was for ABC to cancel this hilarious series so soon.
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I've been waiting for this to come out on DVD for many years now. This is hands down my favorite TV series of all time - albeit a very short lived one. As many writers have already noted, the entire "series" consists of only 6 episodes. But rest assured that these 6 short episodes are packed with wit. This is a show that you have to pay attention to - there are many visuals gags and plays on words. It's fantastic.

I'm glad to finally have the chance to purchase this in a digital format. As much as I liked the Naked Gun films, they just weren't the same. For me, Police Squad will always be Leslie Nielsen and Alan North (with Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln, of course!).

If you're a fan of any of the Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker films (e.g. Airplane, Naked Gun, etc.) then you definitely should consider adding this to your collection. It's definitely some of their best work in my humble opinion.
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Finally it's here, "In Color"! And for those who didn't get to see the original run on television, you will find many of the quips and gags in the Naked Gun trilogy are straight from the files of "Police Squad!". In fact, you really have to pay attention as the gags and jokes come non-stop. Here's one recurring gag; in episode 1 Drebin hits a trash can with his police car. In episode 2 he hits 2 trash cans and so on. "Cigarette? Yes I know!" "No sax before a fight"! "The 'toe' truck's here". "Club Flamingo". (lol) Where do you stop?

Great fun for everybody with Det. Frank Drebin, Capt. Ed Hocken, Johnny the Snitch, Ted Olson, Scientist and what I though was the best later edition appearing in the last 4 episodes, Peter Lupus as Norberg. (He should have played Norberg in the movies). After all those years playing the serious character 'Willie' on Mission Impossible, he gets to display his comedic talents as well.

Returning soon to a television screen near you!

Rest In Peace Leslie Nielsen: You will be missed... 11.28.10
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Leslie Nielsen was a dramatic actor in the 1950's-1980's tv and movies...That was until an all star satire movie called Airplane.

Then the producers of Airplane did a TV show with slapstick, satire and well treaded jokes entitled Police Squad. It last only six episodes. The jokes were fast and plentiful. However ABC did not have the time to give it a chance and pulled its plug quickly.

Foreshadowing The producers took to the concept to the movies and lo and behold the Naked Gun series of films were created. Neilson became a comic actor

So if you are a fan of Airplane, Top Secret or the Naked Gun films, this set is great. If you want to recapture the original lightening in a bottle which was Police Squad, get this. And If you are like me-like cute crude humor..GET THIS SET!

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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In 1980, the movie "Airplane!" hit theaters and went on to become one of the biggest box-office hits of that year. It also put the movie's creators on the map. Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker wrote and directed "Airplane!", which now ranks as one of the funniest movies of all time. For their follow-up project, they decided to go to the small screen. And in 1982 they created a comedy series titled "Police Squad!" While "Airplane!" was a spoof of disaster movies (most notably the "Airport" movies of the `70s), "Police Squad! was a spoof of cop shows. As for who would be the star of the show, Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker decided to recruit one of their actors from "Airplane!", Leslie Nielsen. For years Nielsen had been regarded as an actor who usually appeared in serious roles. But "Airplane!" would eventually change all that. It was in this movie that Nielsen got a chance to do laugh out loud comedy, and "Police Squad!" would take him to the next level.

Nielsen plays Lt. Frank Drebin, a cop who's so dumb that he doesn't even know it, and what follows throughout the series run is a collection of clever wordplay, bad puns, silly names, hilariously stupid jokes, and visual gags going on in the background behind the main characters. Also it shows the characters taking it all so seriously with the actors (including Nielsen) playing it with deadpan faces. This is exactly the same approach that Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker used for "Airplane!" It worked for that movie, and it worked with "Police Squad!"

"Police Squad!" is one of the funniest TV shows ever made. The show debuted on ABC on March 4, 1982 to rave reviews, but unfortunately not many people watched it when it first aired. It only lasted six episodes and ABC eventually cancelled the series.
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Topic From this Discussion
Where's the lost Belushi episode?
The Belushi footage is not on the DVD. In "Special features" They (The Zuckers)explain why in one of the commentaries. Apparently Belushi's segment was shot a few months prior to his death, and by the time the show was ready to air, he had died so they pulled his segment. It would be... Read More
Nov 10, 2006 by James C. Suss |  See all 5 posts
Certain parts of different than the VHS releases
The reason is because the studio couldn't (or wouldn't) get the rights clearance to use the aforementioned music in the original VHS edition. Apparently they've ponied up the money for the DVD releases. The music in the DVD releases is the same as in the original television broadcasts (it had... Read More
Jun 28, 2008 by Daniel Klos |  See all 8 posts
Why it Bombed
Your'e joking of course. Not sure why this show failed but it certainly wasn't because it took too much effort to watch.
The sight gags were the most obvious thing. This show is still much better than a lot of comedies on today.
Dec 16, 2006 by M. Hansen |  See all 14 posts
Blu ray and/or Remastered Digital, one day, hopefully (and with English...
I thought English SDH subtitles were legally required these days!
Aug 20, 2013 by Arya |  See all 3 posts
Does this DVD include subtitles? Be the first to reply
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